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Bedford, TX

Population: 47,152 (U.S. 2000 Census)
Growth Rate 7.80%:
Zip Codes: 76021, 76022
Land Area: 25.9 sq km
Largest Non-Government employer: Bank One Center
Unemployment: ~3.58% (50 mile radius)
Per Capita Income: (see below)
Crime Index: 1,940 (out of a national average of 4,124 in 2000)

Bedford is one of those small towns that nearly died, somehow survived and became one of the thriving children of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. With a higher per capita land value than either Dallas or Fort Worth, Bedford does not have slums, nor does it have extremely wealthy neighborhoods. However, the average family earns almost $80k a year, so funding for all city services is extremely high.

The official 2002 demographics are as follows:
  • 60% of the community is between the ages of 25 and 60;
  • 13% of the male population and 11% of the female population are single;
  • 55% of Bedford's residents are homeowners and 25.4% have a bachelor's degree, and
  • The average household income is $78,611, and the median household income is $64,840.
  • The 2001 average sales price of a single family residence was $147,497 (Source: Northeast Tarrant County Board of Realtors).
  • Bedford's average rental rate is $750 (Source: Apartment Locater Service).

Now, considering the history of Bedford, it's amazing that this place even exists. At one time, population had plummeted over 95% in a 5 year span (in Sim City this is a good sign your game is about to be over). So, now I leave you with the history of a town that did almost absolutely nothing to put itself on the map until almost 100 years after it was settled.

Timeline of Bedford's History
  • 1850's - First known U.S. settlers in the Bedford area begin arriving.
  • 1862 - The first school in the settlement, a log building, was built.
  • 1870 - Weldon Wiles Bobo migrates from Bedford County, Tennessee in 1870, and establishes a store.
  • 1871 - Earliest legible tombstone. Elizabeth White Bobo (1866-1871).
  • 1877 - A post office is opened in W. W. Bobo's home, by which time the community has acquired the name of Bedford.
  • 1882 - Population passes 1,000. This surpasses in population all other communities in Tarrant County except Fort Worth.
  • 1903 - The Rock Island Railway bypasses Bedford, causing a loss of industry and commercial interest.
  • 1905 - A new highway (I-30) was built between Fort Worth and Dallas through Arlington and Grand Prairie. Population in Bedford begins to plummet.
  • 31 December 1909 - Bedford's Post Office closes down. Only one store remains in the entire town. Population is now about 50.
  • 1912 - Construction began on the two-story Bedford Elementary School, which was located on the site of a previous College, which burned down in 1893. Ironically, this same school burned down almost exactly 100 years later in 1993. Today, the restored Old Bedford School, the only educational structure in northeast Tarrant County listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1930's - Bedford now has 4 stores.
  • 1940's - Population at a meager 76 gets the first big boom thanks to World War II.
  • 1949 - Bedford Boys Ranch, originally a home for boys, was established. (in present day it is a social center and recreational park, and also the site of the July 4th Fireworks every year.
  • 1953 - The town of Bedford is incorporated, boasting a population of 475 within a two-square mile area, including residents of the Boys Ranch.
  • 1955 - The city's first fire department is established with 30 volunteers.
  • 1959 - A new fire hall/city hall building is opened.
  • 1960 - The population has grown to 2,700 within an area of ten square miles.
  • 1964 - First library built in a small home near the fire hall/city building.
  • 1965 - First Police department created with one police officer.
  • 1966 - Library moved to a larger house on Forest Ridge Drive.
  • 1970 - Population passes 10,000 with an annual growth rate of 7.56%. Value of taxable property was $80 million.
  • 1975 - City acquires the Bedford Boys Ranch and turns it into a park. New City Hall/Police building built on Forest Ridge. Library was moved to the bottom floor.
  • 1980 - Population is 20,821 Annual growth rate was 7.71% and taxable property value was at $251 million. Additions to the city included a new library, service center, animal control center, senior citizens center, community center and expanded park and recreational facilities. A downturn in the national economy impacted the community.
  • 1990 - Population more than doubles to 45,000.

That's the official history. From the view of a resident, it's not as glorious a tale. Yes, Bedford prospered, but over the last decade, has lost a lot of the charm that made it so appealing to so many. When we first moved there in 1986, there were several fields with horses, miles and miles of forests, and it was a quiet little haven between the concrete jungle of Fort Worth and Dallas. Now it looks little better than its counterparts, thanks to irresponsible construction and zoning rights. Developers bought many of the most beautiful land acres in Bedford, tore down the trees, turned the land into mud, concrete, and rebar, then abandoned the project, leaving nothing but an empty rusting concrete lot. This has happened so many times now that the charm of Bedford has mostly died in all but the wealthiest neighborhoods. Even then, the natural beauty of Bedford looks like a caged animal that gave up hope.

Still, it's not an entirely sad story. Thanks to the demographics I mentioned earlier, Bedford has the budget to provide excellent parks, and plenty of them. For such a small area of land, they have rather a lot of parks. The Parks and their locations are as follows:
  • Boys Ranch Park is located at 2801 Forest Ridge Drive,
  • Meadowpark Athletic Complex at 3200 Meadowpark Drive,
  • Bedford Trails Linear Park runs east and west from Cummings to Meadow Park Drive,
  • Brookhollow Park at 800 Rankin,
  • Central Park at 1200 Central Drive,
  • Monterrey Park at 1000 Monterrey,
  • Carousel Park at 1100 Simpson Terrace and
  • Stormie Jones Park at 2500 Brasher.

All in all, Bedford, TX is still in many ways a pleasant, quiet place with extremely low crime (less than half the national average) and a good future ahead.

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